Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Funeral

The announcement that Glitch was ending came with a very well-written FAQ that focused almost entirely on answering the question, "Isn't there some way we can stop this?" with various forms of "No."  We couldn't stop it and we couldn't save Glitch.  Now that the site has gone into archive mode the forums and groups have left our lives as well.

I've never experienced the death of a game before.  Games are mostly ideas, and the ideas are still out there.  Even when the hardware that ran games is long gone, computing power allows us to easily replace that hardware with software.  It's weird that I can't go play Glitch right now, the way I can go play Space Invaders or Zork 2.  So instead I am remembering the good times I had with Glitch and imagining how much fun we might have had together if Glitch were still here with me.  It's like imagining how happy my mother would have been to see her granddaughters.

Glitch was a game that was known as non-violent and quirky, but that was just a simple view of its public face.  It was a game where you could find holes in the world that led you to places you shouldn't stand or that let you stand in the air.  It was a game where you could access parts of the code and guess at new locations and badges through URL manipulation.  It was a game you could play with a sleeping baby on one arm and with virtually no sleep yourself.  And it was especially a game where you could find support and caring from other players.

Glitch may have closed but it is not really gone.  Its remarkable art is still available in the creative commons.  Communities of glitchen still interact on the web.  Glitch has inspired several successful projects in the real world since its death, and it may inspire more.  Having played Glitch has inspired me to create, and to learn to create.

Glitch.com helpfully has a photobook from the life of glitch, and memorials to the many, many glitchen who lived in Ur.

It's hard to write a blog about the math behind Glitch when Glitch doesn't exist, but I've decided to do it.  I'm sure there will be purists who observe that the things I post will not be about Glitch at all, and will also perhaps not be about math, but I think I will continue to blog about the math behind Glitch, even if I objectively do not do so.

Please leave a note in the guest book for the family,

Monday, 18 March 2013

I Keep Dreaming About This

I have a recurring dream where I visit the Glitch site and mysteriously (tantalizingly) there is a button that says "Enter World."  The button has no explanation or fanfare.  There are no posts explaining what is going on.  So I click it and see where it takes me.

Each time Humbabella finds herself somewhere new.  Sometimes there are the familiar inhabitants of Ur - piggies, rocks, trees - and sometimes it is something completely different.  Once the Scion of Purple greeted me at an endless tower stretching into a fictional sky.  Once I was in a desolate northern region like those adjacent to the ancestral lands with no features or Glitchen to be found.

A few times someone else has been online to greet me.  I've asked them what is going on.  Explanations vary.  Sometimes they don't know what is going on either.  Sometimes they tell me that the game has come back up but only for a small number of players, that I have to keep it a secret.

I miss watching Humbabella walk around Ur.  I've started to work on little animated .gifs so that I can watch her walk and jump and nod off to sleep again.  But more than that I miss not being alone.  I'm not really alone, not in real life.

If life were as it is presented in news articles, we would think of someone as lonely if all of their friends were online, and they had no one in real life.  But there is a part of me that only exists through my connection to the internet, and to people I don't know.

I miss the small pleasure of fictional daily chores, and I miss you, strangers.